Dundalk finished off their pre-season schedule with victory over Newry City at the Showgrounds on Sunday afternoon. A fairly scrappy encounter was settled by two second half goals by Michael Rafter and Liam Burns to give the visitors a win and also the first ever Cross-Border Cup.
The opening stages of the game were quiet with Newry having the better of the few opportunities - none better than Steven Hughes' free-kick after seven minutes which went narrowly wide. It wasn't until the half an hour mark until Dundalk threatened the home goal when Derek Foran's ambitious effort was almost directed home by the ever impressive Rob Waters. Dundalk did have a penalty shout waved away while John Mountney's long range shot was pushed wide for a corner. Newry almost took the lead just before the break when a dangerous ball was played into the six-yard area was just about cleared by Liam Burns.
The teams went in scoreless at the break and when the game re-started, it was much the same as the first with both teams struggling to gain control of the game. Dundalk managed to create the first opening of the game. Rafter created space between defenders however under pressure his shot was saved by the home 'keeper. Dan Cunningham had a penalty claim turned down after a mix up between Linesman and referee with the final decision being given as offside.
The deadlock was soon broken and the visitors grabbed the lead when Chris Shields played a brilliant through ball in behind the Newry defence which found Rafter. Who neatly tucked the ball into the far corner of the net. The goal appeared to settle Dundalk and assumed control of proceedings. Cunningham came close with a free-kick he won before Dundalk were let off the hook when Newry got in behind only to be denied by a brilliant save from Peter Cherrie.
Soon after though Dundalk made the game safe when Gareth Coughlan won a free-kick on the left hand side. Taking the kick himself, Coughlan drilled a wonderful cross into the six-yard area where Burns steered home to double Dundalk's lead. With the game decided, the game petered out as Dundalk collected their fifth win in six pre-season outings!
NEWRY CITY FC: Nathan Morley-Hillen, Darren King © (Seán Hand HT), Stephen Hutchinson, Chris McMahon, Ian Curran, Darren Freeman (Timmy Grant 70), Steven Hughes (Darragh Hanaphy HT), David Materson, James Hand, Daniel Hughes, Mark Hughes.
DUNDALK FC: Peter Cherrie, Derek Foran, Liam Burns, Luke Danville (Hernany Macedo HT), Dan Cunningham, Gareth Coughlan (Paul Walsh HT), Chris Shields ©, John Mountney, Robert Waters (Gareth Coughlan 75), Nathan Murphy (Darren Stapleton HT), Michael Rafter (Andrew Harte 77). Goals: M Rafter (62), L Burns (85).
Unused Subs: Ger Hanley (GK)
Attendance: 150 (estimate)
extratime.ie man of the match: Michael Rafter: Caused problems all day long and took his goal very well.